The tool includes a wide array of spatially explicit data pertaining to aquatic and terrestrial species including data on a variety of mammal, bird and fish species. Users can explore these raw data sets as well as the data summarized to level 5 Hydro 1-k watersheds (a geographic database produced by the USGS providing comprehensive and consistent global coverage of topographically derived basin boundaries). As well, users can explore data pertaining to climate change and a wide variety of anthropogenic threats to watershed condition and species health. These data also are provided in their raw form as well as summarized to hydro 1k level 5 watersheds. Please see detailed documentation for the focal species , climate change and watershed condition to gain a better understanding of what data exist in the tool, where we obtained it and how it was collected and processed.
At the heart of the tool is a prioritization process that allows users to specify an area of interest, species of interest and constraints (such as vulnerability to climate change or threats to watershed condition). The process results in a set of level 5 hydro-1k watersheds that represents priority watersheds to meet the user defined objectives. The process draws on computational heuristic application known as Marxan (a widely used and well vetted conservation planning tool) on the backend and provides an easy to use interface that facilitates user input and interaction with the back end model. While freely available, Marxan is generally inaccessible to all but a handful of highly technical users. This tool, albeit for only generalized use and visualization, for the first time provides an easy to use interface for Marxan that allows resource managers, conservation planners, concerned citizens and other non-technical users to develop generalized priorities using this sophisticated process. Please read the detailed documentation to gain an understanding of the purpose, limitations and products associated with the prioritization process model.